What is Film Noir http://www.essortment.com/all/filmnoirdefini_roud.htm http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Film_noir Film noir began in the 1930's and remained as a strong cinematic medium until the early 1960's. Film noir literally means "black film" in French and features themes which are more negative than positive, with an overall dark and shadowy outlook--being filmed in black and white. This film genre takes in detective and crime noir as well as many gangster films of the 1930's. Noir also moves into more modern films combining with other genres. Film noir is a cinematic term used primarily to describe stylish Hollywood crime dramas, particularly those that emphasize cynical attitudes and sexual motivations. Hollywood's classic film noir period is generally regarded as stretching from the early 1940s to the late 1950s. Film noir of this era is associated with a low-key black-and-white visual style that has roots in German Expressionist cinematography.
What is Film Noir It is said the classic period of film noir is between 1940 and 1959. The period between 1960 onwards is known as post classic noir, or sometimes neo-noir. Neo meaning new in Greek, noir meaning black in French. Film noir during the classic period was primarily black and white, the neo noir period doesnt abide by this, however still uses many of the conventions in classic noir. Film noir is more the style a film is shot rather than a genre of its own. Its usually a hybrid genre alongside something else, although the narrative of film noir tends to be crime based. The blacks, whites and greys typically seen in classic period film noir give the text a ominous sense, the mise en scene is gloomy, ominous and usually uninviting.
Forms and Conventions http://www.filmsite.org/filmnoir.html Conventions are the elements which together form a genre. They differ between genres and allow audiences to identify what genre of film they are watching, also it allows producers to incorporate certain conventions into films so that they know it is what is expected by their target audience. Typical themes of film noir include corrupt characters with a menacing past, involvement of police, detectives, gangsters, all due to the strong focus on crime. Conventions of the genre include low key lighting, it tends to heighten the sense of alienation felt by the viewer it highlights specific features such as the face whilst still keeping the rest of a characters body in the dark or shadowed. Unbalanced composition of shots, depth of field, irregular camera angles are other types of shot commonly used in noir.
Lighting Chiaroscuro is the term to describe the technique which uses shadows created by Venetian blinds, bars and banisters, which are cast upon an actor or scene. It adds confusion to the already eerie or uneasy atmosphere. Jack Nicholson, Chinatown (1974). Shadows are often used, characters are frequently introduced by shadows which adds a sense of mystery, enhancing their facade rather than just being introduced full on.
Skewed, low and wide angle shots are frequently used in film noir. Low angle shots make the audience feel vulnerable, as if the object or character onscreen is towering over them, intimidating. High angle shots do just the opposite, they show someone from a point of power looking down on/at someone/something vulnerable or of less worth than themselves. Skewed shots add to the eerie atmosphere, creating an awkward angle exaggerates this. Shots In A Lonely Place (1950) Low angle The Lady From Shanghai (1948) High angle
Lighting The Big Combo (1955) Typically exterior scenes will be in the evening or night in urban areas such as back alleys, waterfronts, hotel rooms, bars or nightclubs, with misty or rainy weather. Heavy shadows will be created by the low key light, which highlights select features such as one side of a characters face. The camera angles may be tilted or slanted, another convention of the genre. Double Identity (1944) Out of the Past (1947) Fallen Angel (1945) The Man Who Wasnt There (2001)
Femme Fatale and Detectives Femme fatale is French meaning fatal/deadly woman. Found in noir films, the femme fatale is dressed seductively, with a mysterious persona. She is either one of two things, an innocent woman who uses charm which makes the man fall for her, or a hard-headed spy/detective who uses lies to deceive and betray. Femme fatales must be alluring, they are dressed seductively so the lead male role falls for her, and becomes spellbound for the femme fatale, who nearly always leads him to a dangerous/deadly situation.
Femme Fatales and Detectives Mary Astor is a classic example of a femme fatale, she stared alongside Humphrey Bogart in The Maltease Falcon (1941). Shown here with a gun, she is powerful and in control. Kathie Moffat shown here is the femme fatale in Out of the Past (1947), shown here smoking a cigarette connoting sexuality, edginess, and danger. Her hat adds mystery to her façade.
Forms and Conventions http://www.filmsite.org/filmnoir.html Narratives of film noir are usually complex, with several stories running parallel to each other. The narrative is sometimes aided by flashbacks which delve deeper into the characters history which allows the audience to better understand the motive of the crime carried out. A first person narration is also common in film noir. The protagonists in film noir were normally driven by their past or by human weakness to repeat former mistakes. Equally the protagonist is sometimes innocent and doing everything in their power to prove they were wrongly accused of the crime. Settings were often interiors with low-key (or single-source) lighting, venetian-blinded windows and rooms, and dark, claustrophobic, gloomy appearances. Exteriors were often urban night scenes with deep shadows, wet asphalt, dark alleyways, rain-slicked or mean streets, flashing neon lights, and low key lighting. Story locations were often in murky and dark streets, dimly-lit and low-rent apartments and hotel rooms of big cities, or abandoned warehouses
Voice Overs Voice overs are used in film noir to explain or give further insight into what is happening, or alert the audience of something which the characters on- screen may not know of, without using diegetic dialogue.
History of Film Noir – Classic Period Stranger on the Third Floor (1940) Boris Ingster 1940 Shadow of a Doubt (1942) Alfred Hitchcock Scarlett Street (1945) Fritz Lang Force of Evil (1948) Abraham Polonsky
History of Film Noir – Post Classic/Neo Noir 2010 Shutter Island (2010) Martin Scorsese In Bruges (2008) Martin McDonagh American Gangster (2007) Ridley Scott Batman Begins (2005) Christopher Nolan Sin City (2005) Frank Miller Robert Rodriguez Quentin Tarantino Se7en (1997) David Fincher Casino (1995) Martin Scorsese Batman (1989) Tim Burton Pulp Fiction (1994) Quentin Tarantino
Stranger on the Third Floor Stranger on the Third Floor (1940) is credited with being the first feature length film noir. Rising reporter Michael Ward is a key witness in the murder trial of young Joe Briggs, who is convicted on circumstantial evidence while swearing innocence. Mike's girl Jane believes in Joe and blames Mike, who (in a remarkable sequence) dreams he is himself convicted of murdering his nosy neighbour. Will his dream come true before Jane can find the real murderer? Typical plot involving crime and the protagonist being wrongly accused or framed, including a Femme Fatale and detective who are vital to the plot.
Casino Casino (1995) is a crime based drama which incorporates many conventions of neo noir. Casino is also based on a theme I would like to further explore for creating my teaser trailer. It focuses on crime, gambling and betrayal.
Sin City Sin City is a 2005 neo-noir directed by Quentin Tarantino. It uses many film noir conventions and in our production we hope to mimic some of the techniques used. We hope to edit our footage into not complete black and white but with a hint of colour, but illuminate key objects with full vivid colour, typically red. The main inspiration for the genre chosen and our concept was Sin City, we hope so use some of the techniques they have.
Sin City features a lot of action which we will obviously not be able to recreate, but there are many scenes which could be done similarly. Its important we incorporate a Femme Fatale and dress her seductively, whilst creating a sense of mystery or illusion about her. Sin City
To do ELABORATE ON KEY THEMES eg detective femme fa tele - sexual Sin City http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JfeYzxyMKJI Sin City is a modern-noir (neo noir) There is a lot of action, which we would of course be unable to recreate however we apsire to edit our trailer in the same style, using black and white, low key lighting and extreme closeups. We will be concious of locations, and shoot in high contrast areas so once transformed into black and white will fit the film noir style. We also really liked how certain colours, eg red: flashing lights, heart shaped bed, blood have been done. I really hope we will be able to apply this technique. Film noir story - detective wrongly accused, fighting for justice. femme fatele, protagonist and antagonist
To do COMPARE Maltease Falcon (1941) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XiRZw0UFi30 All black and white Low key lighting Casino (1995) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QiZvG_jcX0g colour BUT low key lighting same type of theme, crime oriented